By Jake Donovan
It’s been nearly three years since Los Angeles-bred lightweight Carlos Molina has last seen the win column. The current drought is not due to a massive slump or an inability to compete mind you, but rather a combination of inactivity and coming up short at the elite level.
Molina heads into his April 30 showdown with Marcito Gesta - which airs live on Fox Sports 1 from Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif. - having lost his last two bouts, the lone two losses of his career. The setbacks came at the hands of Amir Khan – suffering a 10th round stoppage - and Adrien Broner, against whom he dropped a decision last May, his last ring appearance.
Both fights took place at the 140 lb. limit, in addition coming against two of the best in the sport today. Molina was a career-long lightweight before moving up to face Khan in Dec. ’12.
“At the time it was a great opportunity,” Molina (17-2-1, 7KOs) admits of his motivation in accepting the fight as an unbeaten lightweight at the time. “I had headlined minor shows, but this was a chance to fight in a main event on Showtime. It’s a dream that you can’t pass up.”
Molina took a risk, but in doing so suffered his first career loss in a bout that was never competitive
“Amir was a difficult fighter. His reach gave me problems,” acknowledges Molina, who gave a better account of himself in a 10-round loss to Broner last year. “Against Broner, at least I was competitive early. I just took my foot off the gas and you can’t do that against a fighter like him.
“I know I can do more than that. I know I’m capable of competing at the elite level, and plan to do so at 135 against fighters more my size.”
It’s entirely possible that Gesta’s team is banking on the boxing world having seen the best of Molina. The San Diego-based Filipino rides a two-fight win streak following the lone loss of his career, a points loss to Miguel Vazquez in a Dec. ’12 lightweight title fight. His performance that night was flat in a painfully dull fight that was thankfully overshadowed by the evening’s memorable main event, when Manny Pacquiao was knocked out in six rounds by Juan Manuel Marquez in their epic fourth fight.
Gesta (28-1-1, 16KOs) hasn’t fought since last July, but – career-wise – is in a much better place than his opponent. It was all the more reason for Molina to accept the opportunity, hoping that it will lead to a revival.
“As soon as they offered, I said let's do it,” Molina insists. “I think he made a big mistake taking me on. I'm hungry. I need to feed my kids. This is a must win.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox